The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Citizens Committee has finalized their selection for community improvement projects. Thursday afternoon, committee members allocated a $25million budget for 35 long term community improvement initiatives.
CIP Committee Chair Brad McAnally said the committee has been working hard to invest in projects that impact the community as a whole.
“I think it’s important for taxpayers to understand that we spend a lot of time doing this and I wish they could spend a little time and watch the process unfold,”McAnally said.“We try to do everything we possibly can to think about every single project on the list and how it impacts everyday citizens of St.Joseph.We are trying to make sure we are taking the money this generates and spending it wisely.”
If voters approve the half cent sales tax for another five year cycle during the August election, it is expected to generate approximately $25million for community renovations.
The St. Joseph Parks and Recreation and the Public Works could each receive approximately $7.1million (29 percent of the overall budget) for renovation projects including $1million for renovations at Horace Mann and $4.5million in asphalt repairs for city streets.
The committee also approved a request from St. Joseph Museums Inc.for funding to make external repairs to the Wyeth Tootle Mansion.
The proposal was previously eliminated from the final list of capital improvement projects for its lack on financial clarity. The proposal had originally estimated a $1million need to preserve the exterior masonry and windows of the historic mansion, but after a reevaluation by an architect, the request increased approximately 10 percent; bringing the total to $1.1million for the complete repair.
McAnally said the confusion caused a few committee members to hesitate with their support.
“I think the committee as a whole was more concerned that we were spending taxpayer money wisely. So we wanted to make sure that if we gave them $1.1million that we were using that money in a good manner,” McAnally said. “The campaign and the CIP tax is here to make improvements in the community, but it’s not meant to be a continuation every CIP rotation.”
Representatives from the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion said they did not plan on reapplying for additional CIP funding if they were awarded the $1.1million needed for repairs.
The CIP committee will submit the proposed project to the City Council for approval on March 6.